Lawrence will always persevere, and we know what we value, Mayor Courtney Shipley said during her State of the City address on Tuesday.
Reflecting on the past year, she spoke of lessons learned throughout the pandemic.
“We hope COVID is waning, but the experience of the Unified Command has really taught us how to keep our relationships with our partners stronger in a way I don’t think that we ever have before,” she said. “So as unfortunate as it was, we learned some valuable lessons. We’re working smarter, not harder, with our partners.”
Shipley noted the city’s multimodal transfer hub coming soon to Bob Billings Parkway and Crestline Drive, grants the city has received to purchase electronic buses, and unique bus stops. But there could be more transit updates still to come.
Last week, she and Commissioners Amber Sellers, Bart Littlejohn and Brad Finkeldei took a trip to Washington, D.C., for the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference.
She said they learned of “mountains of transportation and infrastructure money” available to the city, and she thinks Lawrence is uniquely positioned to capture a lot of it. The city has done a lot of evaluation and data collection already, whereas other cities would take a couple years to catch up.
Looking forward, Shipley said she would like to see more access to the riverfront come to fruition, including biking trails and creating a cultural space where families want to come spend time.
In addition, Shipley mentioned the city’s strategic plan and the goals it has set out.
“The staff has really undertaken a Herculean effort of intentionally aligning what our processes are with our new strategic plan. It’s not work that you’re going to see in meetings, but it’s an incredible feat that they’ve been working on.”
In closing, she said Lawrence adapts, perseveres, volunteers, sacrifices — “and we do get in our own way sometimes. I think all of us would admit that.
“But we know what we value. Our kids, our neighbors, our environment. So everyone here has made an investment and a commitment to this place, and that’s what makes us strong.”
The annual State of the City address is part of the Chamber’s Leadership Lawrence luncheon.